Do you know exactly what your dog or cat needs in terms of nutrition? As a cat/dog lover, you probably fill your bowls by feeling. However, a well-thought-out feeding schedule and our "feel test" are important for the physical and mental health of your favorite four-legged friend! Do it the right way with tips & tricks from Celtic Connection.
Dog lover? Here's how to get started.
Check out our handy feeding chart. You'll find it on our packaging too! It gives you a good indication of the standard weight for your dog. The most important thing to know is that our table shows the target weight for your dog when he/she is an adult, which may not be their current weight! Choose the row that shows the weight range your fur-baby should be.
Next, choose the column according to the age and activity level of your four-legged friend. Where these come together, you will find the suggested amount, for example, 80-185g. If your dog's target weight is 5kg (lower limit in his weight class) then you would give around 80g. If your dog's target weight is 15kg (upper limit of his weight range), you're more likely to go for 185g.
Use this table to determine the starting amount, but don't follow it blindly. Every animal is different, and sometimes you need to adjust the amount based on one or more factors, including age. Puppies need a lot of calories, but not all in one meal. Divide the amount shown into 3 meals. Most puppies need 3 meals per day until they are around 9 months old. You can then switch to 2 meals a day when their stomach can handle larger portions.
"Puppies need lots of calories, but not all in one meal!"
Did you know...
... the number of calories a dog needs decreases as it ages? Once a puppy reaches its adult size, it needs fewer calories since it is no longer using them to grow. Small dogs mature faster, so it is normal that the amount of food decreases as the one-year mark is reached. Pregnant dogs remain an exception: in the last three weeks of the pregnancy, they need up to 50% more than the indicated amount.
Do the feel test!
Did you stick to the feeding chart for about 2 weeks? Great! Then it's time to start feeling your pet. While your dog is standing on a flat surface, feel along the sides where the ribs are. If you feel a thin layer of fat on the ribs, then the amount of food you are feeding is perfect. If the ribs are very prominent, feed about 10% more for the next two weeks. And if it feels like there is only one big rib, your dog may be a little overweight and you should reduce the amount you are feeding by about 10%. After two weeks at the new amount, feel again until you find the perfect portion.
Feeling your dog is extremely important because the number of calories your pet needs is always changing. Variations in your dog's routine (more or fewer walks, temperature differences, growth spurts, ...) also mean the amount of food needs to change. And that is why the ideal combo is always our feeding table and the feel test!
"The ideal combo for your dog is our feeding table and the feel test!"
Cat person? Here are the basics.
With cats, you may quickly start to think that something is not right. After all, they are not voracious eaters like dogs. They sniff at the bowl, eat a little, then go do something else, and then come back again a bit later. For that reason, many cat owners think cats don't like their food, but that's not the case at all! Cats and dogs just eat in different ways, and there are many reasons for that.
"Cats are not voracious eaters, like dogs."
Your cat's ideal diet also starts with the feeding table on your bag of Celtic Connection. As with dogs, choose the row and column that correspond to your cat's target weight, which may not be your cat's current weight.
An overweight cat: what do I do?
Cats that are fed food that contains grain are prone to becoming overweight. This is often because they are not getting their nutrition from the sources that Mother Nature intended. Cat food that contains grain does not give them the right proportion of the nutrients they need. So they keep eating and eating (and eating!), trying to get the right balance, and gaining weight as a result. Celtic Connection cat food consists of 80% meat, so your cat gets all the nutrients in the correct proportions and will reach its target weight. Your cat will naturally stop eating too much on its own, as long as it gets the right food.
If you give your cat the right nutrition, it will naturally stop overeating.